A usually knowledgeable source has today made available to DefendingHistory.com what purports to be a letter from a prosecutor in Lithuania to Dr. Rachel Margolis in Rechovot dating from spring of 2011. According to the source, who asked not to be identified by name, it is this letter that has been the basis of claims by the current Lithuanian government, and its foreign apologists on Jewish issues, that the case is ‘closed’.
The letter, not written on any official letterhead, purports to come from the Salcininkai local prosecutors’ office, not the chief prosecutors in Vilnius who have been masterminding the five year campaign against Holocaust survivors who joined the resistance. After a lull, the campaign was restarted in late August 2011.
The document shown to DefendingHistory.com offers the assurance that ‘in the meantime she [Dr. Margolis] is not wanted for questioning as a witness’.
To observers, survivors and diplomats questioned, the letter seems quite insufficient as a counterweight to the more than three years of high-end defamation of Dr. Margolis by elements of Vilnius high society.
On 28 May 2008, prosecutors told the press that she and Ms. Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja) ‘could not be found’.
Then, on 22 August 2008, the leading Baltic purveyor of news, BNS (Baltic News Service) reported that Rachel Margolis is one of those ‘suspected of having participated in the massacre by the partisans in Kaniūkai village in 1944’.
In December 2010, The Lithuanian Human Rights [!] Association (LHRA) published its letter declaring that ‘It has been started to require the sentence of the citizens of the Jewish nationality ― Yitzhak Arad, Fania Brantsovsky and Rachel Margolis, as these citizens (former Soviet guerrillas) have organized the massive slaughter of civilians in Kaniūkai Village, Lithuania (killing 38 civilians) on 29 January 1944’.
The catalogue of public defamation is much longer. It has resulted in Dr. Margolis feeling she cannot safely return to Vilnius (videos here and here). Moreover, simple justice suggests that the vast defamation, caused by Vilnius prosecutors’ early pronouncements, needs to be remedied by a further public statement.
Foreign diplomats in Vilnius have tried for years, without success, to persuade a high ranking Lithuanian political figure, current or retired, to write and release to the public a warm letter of appreciation to Dr. Margolis.
The late president and prime minister Algirdas Brazauskas in 2005 awarded Dr. Margolis a certificate of merit for the same actions (joining the anti-Nazi resistance) for which she was later ‘accused’ (in the absence of any specific allegation or suspicion).
Dr. Margolis, who will turn 90 on 28 October 2011, was the subject of a portrait of courage by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last March.